3D Printed Biscuits Among Amazon’s ‘Christmas of the Future’ Predictions

 AI assisted wish lists, LED wallpaper and 3D-printed Christmas dinners are just some of the futuristic trends predicted to become a reality in the Christmas of the Future report informed by two leading independent futurists; founder of Next Big Thing, William Higham, and Director of bellwether: Food Trends – the first food trend research compendium – Dr Morgaine Gaye. 

Commissioned by Amazon, the independent report comes as Amazon adds a range of new products to its Shop the Future Store in time for Christmas – including the Furbo two-way ‘treat tossing’ dog camera.

The Christmas of the Future report looks at how festive traditions will evolve over the next 15-20 years, including the innovations in food and drink, decorations, entertainment and gifting set to become mainstream in the not-too-distant future.

“December is a time of preparation and celebration, and technology will put a festive twist on how we approach Christmas in the future, while making the celebration more convenient and communal,” said Higham.

“One innovation we can expect to see used over the festive period is augmented reality in the home. Christmas is a time for family, and advanced technology could allow families who live miles apart to celebrate and interact together.”

“The introduction of haptic clothing, which recreates the sense of touch through vibrations or motions, will allow us to feel closer to overseas relatives by giving them a ‘haptic hug’ on Christmas morning,” continues Higham, “and holographic imaging will be a way to project 3D versions of our friends and family into our living rooms so they can get ‘virtually’ involved in the festivities.”

Food futurologist, Dr Morgaine Gaye, said: “For many, an impressive feast is what makes Christmas.  Soon we will be adding even more of a homemade touch to our Christmas spreads, from using hydroponic technology to help us grow fruit and vegetables in our kitchens, no matter how small, to 3D printing helping us to create stunning edible artworks for dessert.”

Key consumer product predictions from the report include:

Food and Drink

As we continue to take inspiration from our daily newsfeeds and embrace experimentation, our Christmas lunch will be influenced by food trends and traditions from afar. Sweet spiced milk and buttery bread from India’s Holi Festival, Poland’s 12-dish Christmas lunch and a Scandinavian festive buffet are just some of the foods predicted to feature in our Christmas of the future.

We’ll also find innovative Christmas food closer to home. The development of hydroponic technology means you’ll be able to grow the vegetables to go with your Christmas dinner in your own kitchen, while 3D printers will be the perfect tool to create a feast that’s as pleasing to the eye as it is to your taste buds. Higham imagines a festive spread packed with Christmas tree-shaped turkey-flavoured soya pieces or Noddy Holder-shaped Christmas biscuits.

Gifting                                                    

Gone will be the days of hiding our disappointment when opening that third pair of socks, as Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) will help us curate Christmas wish lists based on our online profile’s likes, dislikes and must-haves from across the year.

The Christmas of the Future isn’t just about family. It’s about ‘framily’. Friends, relatives, neighbours, colleagues and pets, all in one close-knit group. And the bigger those ‘framilies’ become, the more people we’ll be buying gifts for.

Higham predicts we may even buy presents for our AI Assistants: “They may not be human but they’ve helped us out all year. Maybe we’ll get them a new case or more memory?” 

Decorations

Home-grown garlands and wreaths using hydroponics, 3D-printed baubles and virtual Christmas scenes projected on to LED wallpaper – the way we deck out our homes is set to get a futuristic makeover. In waving goodbye to tangled tinsel from the loft and welcoming sophisticated digital decorations, which can create more personalised displays according to our tastes each year without having to repurchase a whole new look, saving time, space and money while still impressing the neighbours.

Entertainment

In amongst the future-gazing, the futurists predict that some traditions will never change.  And while technology will continue to help bring loved ones closer together, board games are as popular as ever, with games and puzzles the fastest growing toy category in 2016.*

“Amazon is delighted to support the exciting technologies produced by some of the most innovative start-ups from around the world. Hydroponic kits, 3D printers and VR headsets are just some of the advanced products already included at Amazon’s Shop the Future Store, so that customers can discover the benefit of these exciting innovations right now first-hand,” said Alvaro Castillo, Head of Deals and Events, Amazon.co.uk.

For Christmas gift inspiration visit Amazon.co.uk/Christmasstore.

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The London Cat Clinic Wins National Veterinary Practice Design Awards

Major accolade: The London Cat Clinic is the brainchild of Dr. Jeremy Campbell (pictured)

The London Cat Clinic (www.thelondoncatclinic.co.uk), a new purpose-built, feline-only practice in the heart of the Bermondsey regeneration area of London, has won the nationwide 2017 Practice Design Awards. In addition to winning the category for ‘best conversion’ in the British Veterinary Hospitals Association 2015-2017 competition, the practice was also named as Overall Winner.

The judges gave particular praise to the clinic’s ‘Cat Cubbies’ in the consult rooms. These cat-sized cut-outs in the wall are ideal for nervous cats to jump or walk up into using three large steps that they can step or perch on as they choose at any point along their journey. They have been created specifically to reduce anxiety during consultations and were hailed by the judges as an exceptional design feature of the clinic.

The clinic’s award-winning ‘Cat Cubbies’

Recently designated a ‘Gold Standard Cat Friendly Clinic’ by the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) and winner of The Best Veterinary Practice for Cats in London and South-East England in the 2017 Animal Health & Wellness Awards, the 2500 sq. ft. clinic, previously an unused commercial space, was opened in May 2017 by the Hollywood-famous-feline, Bob the Street Cat, and his companion, James Bowen.

Catering for the health and well-being of all cats from birth to retirement, The London Cat Clinic is the brainchild of leading feline veterinarian, Dr. Jeremy Campbell. The clinic is the culmination of three years of hard work, transforming Dr. Campbell’s passion for feline medicine and expert healthcare into one of the largest independent cat practices in England, housed in this award-winning building.

One of only 25 vets in the UK to have qualified as Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Advanced Practitioner in Feline Medicine, Dr. Campbell explains: “Every detail of The London Cat Clinic has been carefully designed with the welfare and comfort of our patients in mind. To be recognised as the national winner for the innovative and cat-centric creativity in our design is a tremendous honour.

“As cat lovers and carers ourselves, we know that our friends like to control their environment and away from home they can become easily stressed. At The London Cat Clinic we have created a light, airy, spacious place where cats will immediately feel more relaxed, enabling a calmer, detailed examination, uncovering signs of disease or illness which are easily hidden if the cat is anxious and tense.”

The clinic was designed by architect firm Gort Scott

Fiona Scott at Gort Scott (www.gortscott.com), the award-winning architect practice that transformed Dr Campbell’s vision into reality, said: “The London Cat Clinic is an exciting concept that we have designed for an independent practitioner with very different values from the large chain and franchise vet practices. We worked creatively alongside our client to refine a sequence of spaces to improve and streamline their day to day working practices. In parallel, we designed functional spaces to facilitate Jeremy’s vision of new kinds of interaction between the veterinary staff and visitors.

“This is a new vet practice, which has the experience and the welfare of the animal and its owner at heart. It is great to see independent businesses such as The London Cat Clinic being recognised in reinvigorating this exciting bit of Bermondsey.”

Dr. Campbell added: “It is the realisation of a dream. After so much planning and building, with Gort Scott and our other project partners, it has been fabulous to say farewell to contractors and carpenters and hello to cats and their carers! The great reaction from everyone who has visited the clinic, in addition to winning these awards, reaffirms my belief that we have created something unique for the cats of London and beyond.”

The clinic offers a unique drop off service for London’s busy lifestyles, allowing owners to leave their precious charges under the expert care of Dr. Campbell whilst they are at work.

Patients required to stay at the clinic are kept safe and warm on a climate-controlled ward in accommodations that have been specifically designed, built using the best materials to keep noise down and retain warmth, and are larger than the ISFM Gold Standard size.  The clinic even offers tinted doors for those kitties who love their privacy.

A large number of advanced diagnostic and surgical procedures can be performed on-site using the clinic’s cutting-edge ultrasonography, radiography, endoscopy and laparoscopy equipment, reducing the need to send cats elsewhere.

To book an appointment call 0203 740 1112 or email [email protected]

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Vet Warns That Cat Population Is Suffering Dental Pain In Silence

Around 85% of cats aged over three suffer from some degree of dental disease, and regular brushing of the pet’s teeth can help, says a leading London-based feline vet.

Dr. Jeremy Campbell, Clinical Director at The London Cat Clinic, one of only a handful of practices in the UK that is cat-only, recommends tooth brushing together with 6-monthly to yearly dental checks to spot disease early. This can help prevent the formation of tartar, which can slow the progression of diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis.

Dr. Campbell explains: “One thing that pet owners can do at home to help reduce the progression of dental disease in their cat is brushing the teeth regularly where possible. This isn’t easy with cats and they need to be trained from kitten-hood but it is possible.

“Owners are often under the impression that feeding 100% dry food will ‘clean’ their teeth sufficiently. However, recent studies have shown that regular dry food has little abrasive qualities, as cats tend to chew too quickly for any real impact. Any effect it has is at the tip of the tooth and most diseases in cats are at the gum level or below the gum line much higher up.”

The London Cat Clinic offers a Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and Treatment (COHAT), including dental radiography.*

A further problem contributing to “the silent suffering”, explains Dr. Campbell, is that cats also tend to ‘hide’ dental disease from their owners, so dental disease may go undiagnosed until the animal is more likely to be in severe pain.

Symptoms include lethargy, decreased appetite, bad breath and inactivity. Left untreated, dental disease can affect the organs, causing damage to the kidney and liver.

Many pet owners are also concerned about the risks of subjecting their pet to a general anaesthetic – particularly if they have an existing medical condition.

Dr. Campbell says: “Pet owners whose cats have underlying diseases or are elderly are often reluctant to bring in their cats in for a dental examination, as they are concerned that their cat will not be a good candidate for general anaesthetic. Often, however, this is not the case. We carry out checks appropriate to their age and any existing problems to allow us to assess risks and to plan accordingly.”

He added: “Cats should ideally have their teeth examined by a vet or nurse at least once every 12 months. Cats that have had dental problems should be examined once every 3-6 months depending on their condition.

“Generally, the sooner the problem is identified, the easier and quicker it is to treat. Even if the cat’s mouth is being examined every day, dental disease will develop and gradually progress. Cats will quite often not show clinical signs until the disease is advanced, by which time many teeth may need to be extracted.”

Case Study: Skye

Skye, an 8-year old cat with a heart murmur, who came into the Bermondsey based clinic for an oral examination, is a case in point. Her gums were very inflamed and some of the teeth were broken due to ‘tooth resorption’ where the body’s own cells destroy tooth structure.

Dr. Campbell says: “Tooth resorption is a common dental disease in cats over 4 years of age and this case highlighted how much cat’s hide their pain particularly dental pain. Skye had a very healthy appetite and had no problems with eating or ‘hunting’. Her owner is a wonderfully observant and attentive carer but it is impossible to see this far back in the mouth of even the most malleable cat without a proper oral examination by your vet or nurse.”

Dr. Campbell recommended that Skye come in for a *Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and Treatment (COHAT). First, he performed a non-invasive cardiac ultrasound (echocardiography) and chest radiographs (x-rays) to investigate the cause of Skye’s heart murmur and to assess risks prior to a general anaesthetic. She was found to have structural changes in the left side of her heart but was considered to be low risk for an anaesthetic adverse event. Skye’s anaesthetic protocol was tailored to her conditions and designed to keep her heart rate nice and relaxed and lungs well oxygenated. She was placed into an oxygen tent for 30 minutes before her anaesthetic to allow her to take in the very rich oxygenated air.

The clinic’s nurses use a multi-parameter monitor for constant monitoring of the heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure and breathing (capnography) allowing any alterations to be made minute-by-minute. Dental nerve blocks were used, which reduce intra and post-operative pain and the amount of overall general anaesthetic required which is even better for the heart. Full mouth x-rays were taken which are essential to determine disease below the gumline and a dental chart was completed recording all details for every tooth.   Skye had four teeth removed in total, and is now making a good recovery.

If you would like your cat checked or to discuss a COHAT in greater detail to avoid your cat ‘suffering in silence’, The London Cat Clinic offers a 20-minute complimentary Dental Consultation with one of their nurses.

*Full details about COHAT available here: http://www.thelondoncatclinic.co.uk/cohats-comprehensive-oral-health-assessment-and-treatments/

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How Animals Can Help Combat Mental Illness

Patients at the Priory’s Hospital in Bristol are benefiting from the company of a “therapy dog” to help with their treatment for stress, anxiety, and depression.

Lara, a rescue dog from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home (BDCH), is introduced into some therapy sessions by her owner Daniel Fryer, a senior qualified psychotherapist.

Where appropriate and where patients are keen, they are able to interact with the dog, and some choose to pat and stroke, or groom and hug, Lara as they participate in therapy. This helps provide comfort in moments of distress, and helps to rebuild self-esteem.

Daniel said: “Lara works as a great ice breaker in one-to-one and group therapy sessions. She lifts the spirits of patients on ward visits. Petting or stroking a dog does wonders for your blood pressure and stress levels.”

Daniel believes the reason that Lara is such a success with his patients is because “they don’t feel judged by a dog, who is able to display unconditional acceptance, and they feel more confident to confront their issues”.

Pet-assisted activities encourage patients to have conversations with their therapist, as well as with their fellow patients. This can be helpful in promoting social interaction and breaking down barriers, emotionally and in a social context.

Animals can trigger the release of endorphins, a feel-good neurotransmitter which gives a calming effect and boosts the level of serotonin, a chemical linked with happiness and well-being.

By directing one’s attention towards another living thing, a patient’s focus is drawn away from his or her own difficulties and, for a while, they can distance themselves from their distress and then begin talking about their own issues and consider ways forward.

In this way, pet-assisted therapy enables a patient to work with a professional towards attaining clinical goals.

Universities worldwide are turning to therapy dogs to relieve their students’ pre-exam nerves and first-term homesickness.

And studies have found that just the presence of a dog can help lower levels of stress and anxiety. A recent Dogs Trust survey found that 95% of dog owners in Britain believe that interacting with their dog made them happier, with 89% saying they talk to their dog when no one else is around1.

Some experts say the presence of an animal in a hospital environment helps patients feel more at home.

Lara is registered with Pets as Therapy as a therapy animal. There are around 6,300 Pets as Therapy dogs visiting hospitals, residential nursing homes and special needs schools in the UK2.

A therapy dog is different from an assistance dog, which will have special training to provide support for someone with a disability, or for someone living with conditions such as epilepsy. “A therapy dog needs to be calm and react well to other people’s tears, sudden noises and movements,” said Daniel. “They mustn’t get too excited about human contact but equally can’t be too laid back.”

Daniel added: “Lara is a fantastic therapy dog and provides comfort to patients in moments of distress. One time, during a therapy session, she sat in front of the lady. Instinctively my patient leant forward to give Lara a cuddle. Afterwards, the lady in question told me that actually what she had really needed at that moment was that cuddle and it made me realise that Lara sensed that.

“There is little doubt in my mind that Lara helps build trust between myself and a client, helps reduce stress, boost self-esteem and generally improve mood. A lot of my therapy sessions have been conducted with the client happily sitting on the floor cuddling and stroking Lara. She gets more feedback on our feedback forms than I do!

“Staffordshire Bull Terriers are effective as therapy dogs because, despite their fearsome reputation and the bad press they sometimes receive, they are very loving and very people-orientated. All my Staffie wants out of life is a big cuddle.”

Adam Lampitt, Hospital Director at Priory’s Hospital in Bristol, said: “We love having Lara at the hospital and she really brightens everyone’s day, both patients and staff. She is brilliant when patients are feeling stressed and anxious by providing them with love and attention. We always check that our patients are happy to have her in their session before she is bought in and she has proved to be a popular member of our team.”

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Vito the Assistance Dog Given Pick of Toys at Store Opening

Store manager Jill Allen and ‘Dogs for Good’ volunteer Lisa Dixon and her son Thomas watch ‘Vito’ choose a toy.

Lisa and 14-year old Thomas Dixon from Dogs for Good and their dog, Vito, were VIP guests at the grand opening of Pets at Home inside Tesco Extra in Durham.

The family officially opened the new store, before being invited to choose a selection of Pets at Home’s toys and treats for the assistance dog Vito – who was especially drawn to a blue ball.

Dogs for Good, formerly Dogs for the Disabled, is a UK-based charity training and providing accredited assistance dogs to people with physical disabilities and children with autism. Until October 2015 it was called Dogs for the Disabled.

The charity introduced Thomas to Cocker Spaniel Vito when he was just seven and the pair went on to develop an unbreakable bond. Carmel College student Thomas, who has cerebal palsy, was an only child who felt lonely before meeting Vito.

Dogs for Good volunteer, Lisa Dixon said “Thomas and I were really excited to be cutting the ribbon at the launch event for the brand new Durham Pets at Home store.  It gave us an opportunity to show our appreciation for all the fantastic support Pets at Home gives to Dogs for Good.

“Vito was also very excited from meeting lots of new people, getting loads of fuss and sniffing out a few treats!”

Store manager Jill Allen said: “Our opening weekend went even better than we had hoped and it was great to have Lisa, Thomas and Vito attend the launch and show them all the products we have on offer at the store.”

The store which is located inside the Tesco Extra on Dragonville Industrial Estate includes a pet pharmacy which will provide a large range of health care products including supplements, first aid, dental care and flea and worms treatments.

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MPs Rejection of Animal Sentience In Brexit Bill A Backward Step, Says RSPCA

A vote by MPs to reject the inclusion of animal sentience into the EU (Withdrawal) Bill is extremely disappointing and undermines the Government’s ambition to achieve the highest animal welfare standards post-Brexit, claims the RSPCA.

Under EU law, animals are recognised as beings which feel pain and emotions.  Eighty percent of current animal welfare legislation comes from the EU, but after March 2019, European law will no longer apply in the UK.

While most EU law relating to animals will be automatically brought over into UK law, this will not apply to the recognition of sentience.*  The RSPCA has therefore been pressing for the recognition of animal sentience to be embedded into future UK legislation, to help ensure that leaving the EU is not a backwards step for animal welfare. (see RSPCA’s sentience video)

One of the arguments put forward by the Government during the debate was that animal sentience is covered by the Animal Welfare Act 2006. But this is not the case; the term sentience or sentient being doesn’t appear once in that Act and more importantly it doesn’t cover all animals.

RSPCA Head of Public Affairs David Bowles said:  “It’s shocking that MPs have given the thumbs down to incorporating animal sentience into post-Brexit UK law.  This is truly a backward step for animal welfare.

“Animal sentience is never mentioned in the Animal Welfare Act and, crucially, only domestic animals are really  covered by the provisions of the Act anyway and animals in the wild and laboratories expressly exempt It is simply wrong for the Government to claim that the Act protects animal sentience.

“In the EU, we know that the recognition of animals as sentient beings has been effective in improving animal welfare across the region.  If the UK is to achieve the Environment Secretary’s objective of achieving the highest possible animal welfare post-Brexit, it must do the same.

“Animals are not ‘commodities’ and any laws impacting on them needs to take into account their capacity to suffer.  They are sentient beings, with feelings and emotions.”

“A formal acknowledgement that animals are sentient would have sent a strong message to politicians to help shape future legislation, ensuring the best protection for animals.

“The call for legal recognition of animal sentience is echoed across animal protection groups and members of the public. As the EU Withdrawal Bill continues its progress through Parliament we will once again be urging for this important acknowledgement of animals sentence to be included”.

Research shows that much like humans, animals are sentient beings and aware of their feelings and emotions. Their lives matter to them and they have the same capacity to feel joy and pleasure, as well as pain and suffering.

Sadly, millions of animals are still being kept in conditions that do not meet their needs. However, laws are changing and there have recently been significant improvements in how animals are treated.

Since the recognition of animals as sentient beings, the EU has:

  • Banned the use of barren battery cages

  • Ended animal testing for cosmetics

  • Prohibited the import of seal products.

David Bowles added:  “More than 900 million farm animals are reared every year in the UK, as well as many millions of fish and we’re working hard to try to improve the lives as many farm animals as possible. Much like us, farm animals are sentient beings and aware of their feelings and emotions – their lives matter and more needs to done to protect their welfare.”

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Sleeping with Your Pets: The Dos and Don’ts

Who needs a cuddly toy at night when you have a pet, am I right? Well, unless your pet happens to be a hedgehog. Slightly less huggable, perhaps.

It’s true though; letting our pets sleep in our bedrooms – or even on our beds – can be a source of great comfort. And it’s no surprise that over 50% of pet owners bring their pets into slumberland alongside them.

Because our pets make us feel safe, secure and loved. In return, we want to make them happy and as comfortable as possible. We also want to feel like good owners, by not leaving our little friends out in the cold. Puppy eyes, anyone?!

All of these factors can combine to give us a great night’s sleep. Which is really important for all kinds of reasons; namely that sleep results in a well-rested, healthier person, a kinder, more tolerant owner and an all-round better human being. Yay!

Still, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind when sleeping with your pets. And not making innuendos is one of them. 😉

Do…

  1. Lay down the law

If you’re kind enough to let your pet in, they better show you some respect. Avoid territorial battles at the outset by making it clear who’s boss in bed. If your pet protests every time you move in bed, or even tries to nip you, say “no” firmly. If this behaviour continues, well it’s the floor – or back outside – for them.

  1. Let them do their business

Just like you’ll have a final bathroom visit before settling down for the night, so should they. Give them a chance to empty their bladders and you’ll both have a better night’s sleep because of it!

  1. Make sure they’re healthy

Although your furry friends may make great bedtime companions, this shouldn’t come at a risk to your health. Our pets may carry germs that can cause zoonotic diseases, even if they appear to look perfectly healthy. So bring them to the vet for regular check-ups, make sure their vaccinations are in order and rest assured that you’ll sleep both soundly and safely.

Don’t…

  1. Bring them under the covers

Fine if you like the comfort of your pet beside you. But do you really want it dragging whatever it has encountered in the world that day onto your sheets? No thanks.

  1. Let them affect your relationship

If you’re sharing a bed with a partner as well as a pet, well, things can get tricky. Your pet might be over-protective and try to nip your partner whenever they try to come near you. Or you simply feel weird about any…ahem…extracurricular activities with your pet in the room.

First thing’s first. Get them off the bed and onto the floor – your pet, that is! Because, much as you love them, they shouldn’t come in the way of your relationship (or, if they do, maybe there’s a reason for that…) Anyway. Get them out of bed, for starters. And if you’re ok with them being in the room while you’re otherwise engaged, at least distract them with a toy.

  1. Continue if it’s affecting your sleep

Ok, so you do get those lovely feelings of warmth and security. But on a more unconscious level, your pet could be disturbing your sleep. They may be tossers and turners, random howlers or cover hoggers. Or perhaps they won’t leave you alone until you let them out for a bathroom break. Too well-trained, in that case!

It’s a sad thought but one to bear in mind: Not only does your pet take up some valuable sleep space, it can disturb your sleep patterns, too. Because your furry friend might have very different sleep patterns to your own – for instance, cats seem to sleep a lot during the day but less at night – which can lead to lots of nocturnal issues.

Whether or not to let your pet in your bedroom is a personal choice. And you have to weigh up whether you want that companionship or if it’s costing you too much – that cost being a good sleep. Remember, rested owners are happy owners so if you’re losing out on sleep, you’re not helping anyone!

If you do decide to let your pet join you in Sleepytown, remember the dos and don’ts from above. That way, your pet will continue to be your pal for life!

Sweet dreams to you both.

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Surge in Growth for Company Creating 3D Pet Sculptures

An innovative company that makes 3D sculptures from photos of beloved pets is experiencing a surge in demand for its products from veterinary practices, and from pet owners in general.

As a result, Arty Lobster https://artylobster.com which was a Finalist at the prestigious Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) London Business Awards, has plans to hire an additional three 3D artists in the next 12 months. This would take the three-year old company to 15 members of staff.

Part of the increase in demand has come from the company’s ability to create free previews of a sculpture, before a customer commits to buy. This allows anyone to see the beauty and uniqueness of the sculpture itself.

London-based Arty Lobster takes 3D tech to the limits by creating items that are truly bespoke and unique. Highly skilled artists create the 3D pet sculptures from customers’ photos of their pet, which are then 3D printed in-house before being delivered to the customer. There are three options, including sandstone, porcelain and bronze.

Lars Andersen, Founder and MD of Arty Lobster, said: “Pet memorials represent a significant part of our customer base. As our pets are becoming members of our family, we increasingly want a memento of them to cherish forever, which is why I believe this market is becoming increasingly important for us.

“Veterinary practices are among one of our key growth areas. Pet owners are seeking lasting memorials of their pet, and they also serve as unique and attractive gifts for any pet lover.”

He added: “In business terms, it’s an incredibly exciting time for us. We have experienced strong growth in the UK and internationally, which has allowed us to take on several new full-time members of staff as well as to add to our team of dedicated associates.”

At the cutting edge of 3D innovation, Arty Lobster has implemented a rigorous training programme to ensure each pet sculpture is crafted to the highest quality and artistic standards.

The UK pet accessories market was estimated to be worth around £850m at retail selling prices in 2016, according to AMA Research, with growth forecast at around 2% for 2017. The market covers a wide range of product groups including care products, toys, housing, bedding & feeding products, collars, leads and utility products.

Arty Lobster has a range of wholesale prices for businesses of up to 30%. For enquiries, please email [email protected], or visit  https://artylobster.com.

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Vet Says Cats Adept at Hiding Illness from Owners

A leading London-based feline vet is recommending that cat owners generally need to watch their cat’s behaviour more closely – to spot subtle signs of illness before it becomes serious.

Dr. Jeremy Campbell, a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Advanced Practitioner in Feline Medicine and owner of The London Cat Clinic (www.thelondoncatclinic.co.uk), one of only a handful of practices in the UK that is cat-only, says that felines instinctively hide illness from their owners –  “There is no survival benefit in the wild in showing weakness from illness,” he says.

There are, Dr. Campbell explains, some key changes in behaviour to look out for if an illness or disease is to be spotted early and treated effectively. More common conditions that cats may inadvertently be concealing from their owners include arthritis, dental pain and gastrointestinal disease.

One of the most important indications of ill health in a cat is when he or she suddenly prefers to spend time in a less elevated or unusual perch in the house. Cats, being both predator and prey animals, instinctively prefer to be in a higher place from where they can securely survey their surroundings.

Dr. Campbell explains: “In the wild, cats are solitary hunters that move from small prey meal to small prey meal only relying on themselves without the protection of a pack or social unit.  If they let down their guard and are injured this makes them less able to protect themselves and hunt which equals vulnerability.  

“An elevated position enables your cat to continuously monitor their environment and assess potential threats, or feeding opportunities. Height is also a sign of status to most cats, particularly those in a multi-cat household.

“Has your cat started to keep close to the floor, sleep at a lower level, or even on the ground? Has the ‘perching order’ changed amongst your cats? These are definite signs to look out for that could suggest that your cat might be ill.”

Many households now have indoor cats, but what if an outdoor cat suddenly becomes an indoor cat? Dr. Campbell asks.

“Many people choose to keep their cats indoors with access to a garden or out on a cat lead, as they may have concerns over safety and disease so changes are more readily noticeable. But, if your outdoor cat is spending a lot of time around the house, it  could be that something is wrong with him, and he should be examined by your vet,” Dr. Campbell explains.

“Cats are masters of disguise when it comes to camouflaging disease and injury they are hardwired not to show pain because there is no survival benefit in doing so. You might put this down to a change in preference, but is it? Why would a cat move from a position of strength to a position of relative vulnerability? Does it accompany any other changes in your cat’s habits like decreased grooming or more matting around the tail base and bottom?”

“A change in perching behaviour may reflect development of degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis…”

These signs may signifiy dental or other systemic disease, says Dr Campbell.

Dr. Campbell continues:

“A change in perching behaviour may reflect development of degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis, and the increased joint pain that is associated with jumping to the higher perches is a deterrent and keeps your cat ‘grounded’.

“Arthritis is vastly underdiagnosed in feline patients and has been shown in various studies to affect between 60 and 90% of cats, particularly older cats. Commonly affected areas are the spine, shoulders, hips, elbows, knees and ankles. Certain breeds including Maine Coons, Persian, Siamese, Burmese and Scottish Folds have a higher incidence of developing the disease.

“Has your cat has developed a middle-age spread or worse? This extra weight will worsen arthritic pain and speed progression of the disease and becomes a vicious cycle. Evidence of arthritis may be found by your vet at yearly check-ups, and in some cases, there is obviously reduced joint mobility combined with pain.

“In other cases, the signs may be subtler and require x-rays (radiographs) to diagnose. Is this middle-age spread appropriate to their food intake? There are unfortunately other reasons that cats can look overweight but in fact aren’t and they should be checked if there is a sudden perceived weight gain.”

Dr. Campbell concludes:

“There is no need for our feline friends to suffer in silence if we are just that bit more aware of what they are doing in the background and remembering that height is might and lack of height can mean something is afoot.”

 

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Easy Mistakes Pet Owners Can Make

If you’re a new pet owner, you’re likely on a bit of a learning curve. Unless you’ve owned pets before, there’s a lot of new information, signs, and signals to take in. Dogs and cats all have their own unique quirks, and getting used to them is one of the major obstacles in the way of having a good life with your new pet.

This is because some people don’t think of their animals in terms of having their own personalities, which is an easy mistake people who aren’t ready for a pet make. It’s mostly plain sailing, but there’s a few more easy and common mistakes a pet owner can make, so here’s some tips.

Not setting down house rules from the beginning

If you bring home a new dog, and dog’s in particular are more at risk of this, make sure you set down house rules otherwise they’ll never learn properly.  You can get some dog training for your puppy, or ideas on how to do so yourself, from the web or a local puppy class. Keep an eye out for all these helping hands.

Don’t be inconsistent with your training either. Make sure to always reward when your dog has done something right, and make sure everyone else in the house does as well. Behaviours can be secretly encouraged by guests and children, so keep a watchful eye over your puppy’s training regime.

A similar vein goes for cats. When it comes to setting boundaries for a cat, you have to think from their point of view. Cats always like to scratch, and you’ll always find them indulging in this behaviour, whether it be on your sofa or a scratching post. Don’t be angry if your cat does use furniture, as they probably don’t have the toys as an alternative. Make sure to set those out from the beginning as well.

Not playing with your pet

A lot of us come home from work or an event out and don’t have the energy to spend anymore time upright. Therefore we hit the hay without much consideration for our pets. Subsequently, they begin to act out.

Dogs and cats, especially puppies and kittens, have a lot of energy. If this isn’t being put to good use it’ll present itself in other ways. Nipping, clawing, tearing around the house, and purposely misbehaving. A lot of this is done for attention purposes, but a lot of it is just a byproduct.

Be sure to wear your pets out before bedtime. This way they’ll settle down for the night more successfully and won’t wake you up at 5am looking for food. Use toys to show that hands are not to be bitten or played with, and do it regularly.

There’s plenty of mistakes a pet owner can make, and often simply because it didn’t cross their mind as a problem. We love our pets and can be weak to their puppy eyed look, but be firm and always stand your ground.

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